The first excavation allowed inside Stonehenge since 1946 has brought some interesting new interpretations as to its purpose, and scientists have for the first time been able to carbon date the bluestones (there are two types of stones in the ring, sarsen being the other) as having been placed there about 2,300 BC, which is about 300 years later than originally thought.
Based on a variety of factors, the two professors in charge of the dig have concluded that Stonehenge was considered to be a place of healing. And then there's the mysterious “Amesbury Archer.” The BBC has an interesting article and two cool vids (especially the second).
The sixth book is reportedly titled And Another Thing... and is scheduled to be published in October 2009 by Hyperion.
The book has been sanctioned by Douglas Adams’ widow Jane Belson: “I am delighted that Eoin Colfer has agreed to continue the Hitchhiker series. I love his books and could not think of a better person to transport Arthur, Zaphod, and Marvin to pastures new. The project has my full support.”
Colfer told the BBC he feels “more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books,” adding that he was “determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written.”
Colfer told the BBC his first reaction was “semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series. But on reflection I realized that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams.”
I suspect there will be a lot of negative criticism for the eventual outcome. Fans tend to have strong opinions about the purity of their favorite writers’ oeuvre. For fans of Douglas Adams, perhaps doubly so.
Interestingly, almost this exact same thing happened just a few years ago with my other favorite writer (Adams and Heinlein are the two faves, in case you haven’t been paying attention). A partial manuscript was uncovered from the Heinlein Archives at UC Santa Cruz, and Spider Robinson was asked to complete it. The result, Variable Star, was not exactly a Heinlein book, but still an interesting read and not so disastrous as I’d imagined it could have been. I actually liked it a fair amount.
So I will adopt a cautious skepticism about the sixth Hitchhikers’ book, dust off the Artemis Fowl books I haven’t read yet, and wait for 2009.
“Jesus Is My Friend” This is certainly the peppiest Christian rock song ever recorded. But they should know by now that rock ’n’ roll is always perverted by the influence of the devil. Hence the lyric: “Once I tried to run / I tried to run and hide / Jesus came and found me and he touched me down inside...” 8-\ [via Jason]
The Reverse Graffiti Project Reverse graffiti artist Paul Curtis: “I make pictures by cleaning. I am a professor of dirt.” More info on the project.
The largest record collection in the world I bought a bunch of vinyl records and singles this year to add to my collection. Some people think my collecting is crazy. But my collection is nothing compared to Paul Mawhinney’s.
Roger Horrocks A photojournalist specializing in environmental and underwater photography. Some stellar underwater shots on his site.
Finally updated the Mac Pro (my desktop machine) to Leopard, having done the other three computers in my household long ago (Velma’s, my laptop, and the Mac Mini entertainment center).
It was a little more complicated than normal, since my quad-core Intel Mac Pro shipped with a hard drive that had been formatted using the Apple Partition Table, and Leopard won’t install on such a drive, so you have to erase it and reformat it using GUID Partition Table.
I had to use Disk Utility to copy my main OS drive and all my settings (using the Restore function) to a separate HD I fortunately had enough space on, then reboot from the new copy to make sure it was bootable, then completely erase and repartition my prior OS drive (always scary), then reboot from the Leopard install disk, install Leopard using the function that will let you copy your account/network/personal settings from another Mac (or another drive), and finally reboot from the freshly updated Leopard OS that replaced the old Tiger OS.
It seems to have worked alright; since you’re reading this, that means I have Internet access and have not found any major problems yet that require me to go quietly, or more likely loudly, insane. But I haven’t checked all my apps yet, so there’s still time.
Get Crafty! Episode 6 Scrapblog gets creative in the videos they produce to show people how their site works. The results are way funnier than the normal how-to screencast. www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5LNHmwb1fw
We went to Seattle last weekend to attend the wedding of our friends Patty and Rich, who met in Seattle but actually live in the Bay Area now. We stayed with our friends Chris and Jana, who used to live in the Bay Area but have since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood, actually). Are you confused yet?
The wedding was an opportunity for Velma to see some old college friends she doesn’t get to see very often. Rich was one of Velma’s best friends in college, and they were part of the swing dancing scene in St. Louis, and later in the Bay Area.
Velma and I used to work in the same building as Jana, and Chris and Jana asked us to be the photographers for their wedding a few years back, in a park in the South Bay. They’ve since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood), and were kind enough to put us up and show us around a bit too (I haven’t been to Seattle in over a decade). Not to mention picking us up and dropping us off at the airport! Friends can be awesome, can’t they?
We spent most of our time in the Fremont District and Queen Anne, and Jana and Velma spent a solid chunk of time in World Spice downtown, behind Pike Place.
Here are a few of the places/things I enjoyed in/around Seattle:
Eat Local A cool organic café and grocery on Queen Anne Avenue N. They use local ingredients and make small batches that are perfect for couples or individuals to pick up on their way home. They also brew Stumptown Coffee.
Nikki McClure Nikki McClure makes extraordinarily beautiful papercut illustrations in a woodcut-like style. You may have seen her calendars or notecards, or recognize her work from books or magazines. We came across a whole bunch of her work (including a few framed originals, which are fascinating to look at up close) in the above-mentioned Eat Local shop, since she illustrated all their product labels.
Destee Nation Shirt Company Chris took us to his favorite T-shirt shop. I really liked several of the designs, but since my travel bags were pretty stuffed and I didn’t want to spend much money on this trip, I decided I’d wait and maybe purchase from their website later.
Revival Ink I saw this artist’s tees and hoodies at a boutique in Queen Anne and at the Fremont Sunday Market too. I liked two or three of the prints a lot, and would’ve bought one of the hoodies, but while they’re a more earth-friendly 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, they have those terribly cheap zippers that seem to jam within a month of use.
Chocolopolis Another of Chris’s faves, this shop features some exquisite artisan chocolates from around the world, and has free samples out all day.
Hollywood Schoolhouse This is where the wedding was held, a lovely but slightly quirky historical building. The 1912 brick structure hosts lots of weddings and banquets, and has some interesting decorations.
Gas Works Park This 19-acre park is on the site of a former coal-powered gas and oil plant, acquired by the city in the ’60s and opened to the public in 1975. Right on Lake Union, in the middle of Seattle, the park features stunning vistas of downtown and the lakeside portions of the city (Velma, Jana, and Chris pictured above, enjoying the view).
Lenin Since we were only a block away, we simply had to stop and see the 16-foot bronze statue of Lenin in the Fremont. Olya had told me about this (appropriately enough) a couple years ago; I hadn’t seen it when I visited Seattle my first time. If you have a spare quarter-million bucks, you can buy Comrade Lenin for your yard. He’s for sale.
The Fremont Troll The other thing I hadn’t seen last time was the famous Troll. Somehow Holly and I entirely missed the Fremont neighborhood, although we squeezed in practically everything else in our three-day vacation about a decade ago.
World Spice Merchants This popular spot behind Pike Place Market occupied Velma and Jana so long I had to walk around outside because the strong smells were becoming too much for my allergies. Most interesting to me was the Mongolian tea brick, actual bricks of tea which in the past were broken up to use as currency.